MX23RW : Saturday, September 22 23:07:05

This weekend's biggest games in world football

Sports Mole rounds up world football's biggest, best and most important matches from the upcoming weekend of football.

The FA Cup will take centre stage in England this weekend as the remaining clubs do battle in the fourth round, but elsewhere around Europe it is business as usual.

There are important top-of-the-table clashes in Spain, France and Germany amongst others, in addition to three all-Premier League FA Cup ties.

Here, Sports Mole rounds up the biggest, best and most important matches from the upcoming gameweek.



Valencia vs. Real Madrid (Saturday 3.15pm)

La Liga

Only last May Zinedine Zidane was being hailed as arguably the best manager in world football having steered Real Madrid to the league and Champions League double, but fast forward eight months and his job is seemingly now hanging by a thread.

Madrid president Florentino Perez is notorious for having little patience when it comes to poor results, and the club's performances so far this season have undoubtedly been woefully below their usual high standard.

Los Blancos go into Saturday's La Liga clash with Valencia sitting in fourth place, five points behind their opponents and a whopping 19 behind runaway leaders Barcelona.

It is safe to say that Madrid's title defence is effectively over, then, and Zidane's tenure could be heading the same way with another defeat this weekend, having also seen his side unceremoniously dumped out of the Copa del Rey by Leganes on Wednesday night - their third defeat in their last five outings at the Bernabeu.

Valencia looked like mounting a title challenge themselves following a 13-match unbeaten start to the season, but they have since lost four of their last seven league outings to slip down to third - although they remain six points clear of fifth place.

Marcelino's side will be hoping that this is the best time to face Real Madrid, then, with Los Blancos also having failed to win at the Mestalla since 2013.



Marseille vs. Monaco (Sunday, 8pm)

Ligue 1

Paris Saint-Germain are still the clear pace-setters in Ligue 1 this season, but behind them a very competitive race is developing with just two points separating second place from fourth.

Crucially, only the top three will qualify for next season's Champions League, and as things stand it is fourth-placed Monaco - the defending champions and semi-finalists in Europe last season - who will miss out.

That could all change this weekend when they travel to Marseille, though, with victory leaving either side firmly in command of one of those Champions League places.

Marseille go into the game having won their last six matches across all competitions, while in Ligue 1 alone they have only been beaten once in their last 17 outings - at the hands of second-placed Lyon.

Monaco also arrive in good form, though, having strung together a nine-game unbeaten run across all competitions prior to Wednesday night's 3-2 Coupe de France defeat at the hands of Lyon.

The champions have also only lost one of their last 11 meetings with Marseille, winning their most recent five while scoring 20 goals in the process, including a 6-1 drubbing at the Stade Louis II in August.



Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach (Friday, 7.30pm)

Bundesliga

Things could not be much tighter at the top end of the Bundesliga right now, with the exception of a Bayern Munich side who have overcome a patchy start to build a 16-point lead.

The next six teams are separated by just one point, though, and two of them will face off on Friday evening when Eintracht Frankfurt host Borussia Monchengladbach.

Both teams currently sit outside the Champions League places in seventh and fifth respectively, but the margins are so fine that one good result either way could completely change the makeup of the top-four race.

Despite just one point separating them in the table, the two sides go into this game in contrasting form, with Frankfurt's only two defeats from their last 15 outings coming against the current top two in the table.

Monchengladbach, in comparison, have lost four of their last eight games across all competitions including each of their last three away outings.

The reverse fixture in September saw Frankfurt run out 1-0 winners, but that is their only victory in their last six Bundesliga meetings between the two sides.



Yeovil Town vs. Manchester United (Friday, 7.55pm)

The FA Cup fourth round gets underway with two matches on Friday night, and one of them has the potential to provide one of the biggest upsets in the competition's long and illustrious history should Yeovil Town manage to claim the scalp of Manchester United.

United have already been embarrassed in the West Country once this season when they were knocked out of the EFL Cup by Bristol City in the quarter-finals, but that was at the hands of a high-flying Championship side rather than a struggling League Two outfit.

Eighty-seven places separate the two sides in the English football pyramid, with Yeovil sitting 21st and only two points clear of the relegation zone in League Two and Manchester United currently second in the Premier League ahead of their trip to Huish Park.

Everything, of course, points to a United win, but the fixture does also seem to have all the sprinklings of a classic cup upset - the lower-league team at home, a difficult pitch to play on and what is sure to be a fervent atmosphere under the floodlights.

Indeed, Yeovil are the lowest-ranked team still in the competition and could see themselves coming up against Alexis Sanchez in a Manchester United shirt for the first time, just to accentuate the gulf in class between the two sides.

The Glovers have never even scored in their three previous meetings with United, though, and the Red Devils' biggest-ever FA Cup win actually came against Yeovil with an 8-0 triumph in 1949.



Other matches to look out for

Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion: Liverpool achieved the dubious and rare feat of following up victory over the Premier League leaders with a defeat to the division's bottom club on Monday night, and they will be looking to bounce back from that on Saturday evening in this FA Cup tie with West Brom.

Chelsea vs. Newcastle United: Another all-Premier League fourth-round tie sees Chelsea - beaten finalists last season - looking to respond to their EFL Cup exit with progress in the FA Cup at the expense of Newcastle, who are without a major domestic trophy since 1955.

Southampton vs. Watford: New Watford manager Javi Gracia will be in the dugout for the first time when his side face Southampton in another all-Premier League FA Cup tie.

Standard Liege vs. Anderlecht: Two of Belgium's 'big three' meet on Sunday afternoon, but Standard Liege find themselves languishing in the bottom half of the table this season, while champions Anderlecht are 10 points behind leaders Club Brugge.

Gent vs. Club Brugge: That very same Club Brugge side will travel to fourth-placed Gent earlier in the day on Sunday for the 'Battle of Flanders', with the visitors looking to extend their 10-match unbeaten streak.

Melbourne Victory vs. Sydney: The biggest match in Australian football - aka 'The Big Blue' - sees fourth-placed Melbourne Victory host A-League leaders Sydney on Friday morning.

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Jose Mourinho applauds during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Newcastle United on November 18, 2017
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Man United heading to Yeovil in fourth round
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool66001421218
2Manchester CityMan City65101931616
3Chelsea55001441015
4Watford6411116513
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs6402127512
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd631299010
7Bournemouth63121011-110
8Leicester CityLeicester6303111019
9Arsenal530210919
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves62316609
11Crystal Palace621346-27
12Everton513189-16
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton6123811-35
14Southampton612369-35
15Fulham6123813-55
16Burnley6114710-34
17West Ham UnitedWest Ham5104511-63
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle602448-42
19Cardiff CityCardiff6024314-112
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield6024314-112

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